The Effect of Classroom Capacity on Vocal Fatigue as Quantified by the Vocal Fatigue Index

Russell E. Banks, Pasquale Bottalico, Eric J. Hunter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Previous research has concluded that teachers are at a higher-than-normal risk for voice issues that can cause occupational limitations. While some risk factors have been identified, there are still many unknowns. Patients and Methods: A survey was distributed electronically with 506 female teacher respondents. The survey included questions to quantify three aspects of vocal fatigue as captured by the Vocal Fatigue Index (VFI): (1) general tiredness of voice (performance), (2) physical discomfort associated with voicing (pain), and (3) improvement of symptoms with rest (recovery). The effect of classroom capacity on US teachers' self-reported experience of vocal fatigue was analyzed. Results: The results indicated that a classroom's capacity significantly affected teachers' reported amounts of vocal fatigue, while a teacher's age also appeared to significantly affect the reported amount of vocal fatigue. A quadratic rather than linear effect was seen, with the largest age effect occurring at around 40-45 years in all three factors of the VFI. Conclusion: Further factors which may affect vocal fatigue must be explored in future research. By understanding what increases the risk for vocal fatigue, educators and school administrators can take precautions to mitigate the occupational risk of short- and long-term vocal health issues in school teachers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-93
Number of pages9
JournalFolia Phoniatrica et Logopaedica
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018


  • Occupational risk
  • Teachers
  • Vocal Fatigue Index
  • Vocal fatigue

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing
  • LPN and LVN


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